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There is a time in every man's education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till.The power which resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried.It seems he knows how to speak to his contemporaries.
And we are now men, and must accept in the highest mind the same transcendent destiny; and not minors and invalids in a protected corner, not cowards fleeing before a revolution, but guides, redeemers, and benefactors, obeying the Almighty effort, and advancing on Chaos and the Dark.I read the other day some verses written by an eminent painter which were original and not conventional.The soul always hears an admonition in such lines, let the subject be what it may.The sentiment they instill is of more value than any thought they may contain.To believe our own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, -- that is genius.The nonchalance of boys who are sure of a dinner, and would disdain as much as a lord to do or say aught to conciliate one, is the healthy attitude of human nature.A boy is in the parlour what the pit is in the playhouse; independent, irresponsible, looking out from his corner on such people and facts as pass by, he tries and sentences them on their merits, in the swift, summary way of boys, as good, bad, interesting, silly, eloquent, troublesome.A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the lustre of the firmament of bards and sages.Yet he dismisses without notice his thought, because it is his. Great works of art have no more affecting lesson for us than this.These are the voices which we hear in solitude, but they grow faint and inaudible as we enter into the world.Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members. It loves not realities and creators, but names and customs. He who would gather immortal palms must not be hindered by the name of goodness, but must explore if it be goodness.